Planning a trip to Australia is an overwhelming task. From arranging visas, to deciding which regions to travel, how to get there and where to stay, it can take a lot of time to plan your trip. Not to mention the task of creating your budget for travelling Australia.
Creating a budget is often overlooked by people, thought to be the boring part of planning a holiday. Admittedly, it isn’t as fun as planning an itinerary, but it is equally as important.
The last thing you want is to return home from your holiday, to have to pay it off. And you need to be realistic about how many Australian destinations you can visit, and how many things you can do.
Sometimes sticking within your budget vs blowing it can come down to simple choices, like travelling slower or to less destinations.
This article will help you prepare your budget for travelling Australia. We cover everything from visas, flights, accommodation, transport, food and activities.
Creating a travel budget
Before we get started I want to share my guide to creating a travel budget.
If you have never created one before you may not even know where to start. This resource is there to help you.
It comes complete with a detailed ebook with advice on creating and sticking to a travel budget and 2 printable work book:
- Budget Assessment and Action Plan – helping you save
- Travel Budget Planner
Budget for travelling Australia
Please note, the information provided below is general. It will be helpful to all types of travellers, but you will need to create your own budget based on your travel style.
Tourist Visas for Australia
The first thing to add to your budget is your visa. This is an essential expense. You can search for information on your Australian visa here. The cost will differ depending on the type of visa your travel on – tourist, student or working holiday visa.
Transport to Australia
The amount it will cost you to get Australia depends on where you are coming from.
When creating your budget, simply research the cost of flights from your home to Australia and add this to your travel budget. The major airports like Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane are generally the cheapest to fly into.
My travel budget planner is a great place to write down these figures and compile your budget.
Transport within Australia
When working out the cost of transport within Australia, you need to ask yourself:
- What destinations do I plan to visit? Check out my Australia Bucket List for inspo.
- How long am I in Australia?
- Will I be flying, hiring or buying a car or taking public transport?
These questions are all personal to your trip.
If you are in Australia for a short time, flying is recommended because it is such a vast country.
If you have longer in Australia, you could find cheaper transport options like bus and train travel.
In my opinion the ideal way to travel Australia is by buying or hiring a car.
To help you get an idea of how to budget for transport in Australia, here are some example costs.
Domestic flights – range from approximately $50 – $200 one way. Book in advance to save.
Car hire – generally starts from $50 per day
Campervan hire – generally starts from $100 per day. Jucy is one of the most affordable campervan options.
Petrol – approximately $1.50 per litre. $60 – $100 to fill a car.
The less distance you travel, the more money you can save on getting around Australia. If you are on a budget, I recommend travelling less distance. It doesn’t mean you will miss out. You will get better quality time in fewer places.
Accommodation in Australia
Again, the amount you budget for accommodation in Australia will depend on your travel style.
Hostels – A bed in a dorm starts from $15 – $50, depending on your location. In rural areas, the cost is lower. In the cities, the cost is much higher. Hostels in Sydney can cost over $50 per night for a dorm bed.
Airbnb – Private accommodation options start from $100 – $250 per night.
Basic hotels – start from $100 – $250
Luxury hotels – cost upwards of $300 per night
If you opt to travel in a campervan, you can combine your accommodation and transport costs into one, helping you save!
Campsites – generally cost between $10 – $50 depending on the type of campground you choose. If you plan to camp, the CamperMate App is the best way to find campsites that suit your requirements, based on location, cost and facilities. Australia has lots of free campsites, but facilities are generally limited.
Budgeting for food in Australia
Food is one of the areas you can save the most money in Australia.
If you are willing to go to the grocery store and prepare your own meals, you can eat for $15 per day, per person, for all three meals. And this isn’t just 2-minute noodles.
Some cheap and nutritious meal ideas include:
- Fruit and vegetable
- Rice and pasta dishes
- Beans and lentils
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Nuts and snacks
These ingredients are cheap but nutritious. Coles and Woolworths are some of the biggest supermarket chains in Australia.
If you plan to eat out, you will spend much more.
An average meal out in Australia costs between $15 – $25. So if you are eating out 3 times a day, your expenses will increase immediately.
Budget tip – A bakery is a great place to get something to eat cheap, but it generally isn’t healthy.
And if you want to experience fine dining in Australia, you can spend much more!
Budgeting for alcohol in Australia
Your budget for alcohol depends on how much you drink. In general:
Wine costs – $5 – $30 for a bottle. (more if you wish)
Beers costs – $15 – $20 for a 6 pack or $40 – $70 for a carton (24 beers).
Spirits cost – $40 – $ 60 per bottle. (more if you wish)
This is the price from a bottle shop (liquor store).
If you are drinking out at a bar, you can expect a beer or wine to cost around $8 and spirits to cost around $10. Cocktails start at $15 each. Backpacker bars usually offer happy hour deals.
Budgeting for activities in Australia
The great thing about Australia is the fact that you can get by spending very minimal on activities. This is because visiting the beaches, hiking in the rainforests, chasing waterfalls and exploring destinations is free.
On the other hand, you can spend an endless amount of money on activities if you wish.
When creating your budget for travelling in Australia, I recommend deciding what activities you want to splurge on and adding this to your budget.
For example, you may want to:
Snorkel on the great barrier reef
Skydive over Byron Bay
Sail the Whitsunday
Tour the outback
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge
There is an endless amount of adventure activities.
Decide what you want to do the most, budget for it, then plan free activities for the rest of the trip.
Even doing free activities you will have an incredible time!
Phone and internet
Phone and internet in Australia aren’t cheap. If you plan to travel to remote areas, Telstra is the best service provider. You can buy a Telstra sim card once you arrive. I would estimate you would spend between $30- $60 on your phone over a one month period.
Total Daily Budget for Australia
Your daily budget will depend on how you travel.
Are you staying in hostels?
Will you be cooking or eating out?
What kind of activities do you want to do?
I suggest setting your daily budget at around $100. This budget is for those who are staying in hostels or camping. If you want to stay in hotels and do all the activities, you will need to set your daily budget much higher.
Other things to consider in your budget include:
- Medical costs prior to the trip
- Travel Insurance
- Travel accessories
How to save money in Australia
If you are travelling to Australia on a budget, there are a number of things you can do to save money!
If you are taking a longer trip to Australia, you could look for house sitting opportunities. This is where you stay in someones home and look after it (and their animals) while they are away. These opportunities can be hard to come by and require effort to find. You can find more information about finding house sitting opportunities in my guide to affording travel.
As I mentioned earlier, cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to save money in Australia. Instead of spending $15 – $20 per meal, you can spend that (or less) per day.
No matter where you are travelling in the world, you can save yourself a lot of money by drinking less, or not at all. Especially so in Australia where the price of alcohol is ridiculously high.
Many hostels offer work for stay programs. This is usually 4 hours of work in exchange for a dorm bed and can save you hundreds of dollars a week. This is better suited to longer-term travellers and will help reduce your budget for travelling Australia significantly.
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities in Organic Farms, and is another volunteer program that will allow you to travel and stay for free. Most farms offer free accommodation in return for a few hours of work a day, and some even offer free food.
Share with other travellers
Meet up with other travellers and find a way to share expenses. Hire a car in a group. Share taxi fairs. Cook meals together. Some travellers may even take you along on an adventure for free.
Buy a car
If you do plan to stay in Australia for a long time and travel far, buying a car is the best option. Especially if you are travelling with a friend. Having a car will allow you to travel at your own pace, and experience the best destinations in Australia. Spoiler alert – some of the best places are the random towns you have never heard of but come across on the road. Your car can also be your accommodation. Australia is an extremely safe country with campsites in every town. The best part is that you can sell the car at the end of the road trip and leave with money!
Plan to travel less distance
Australia is a HUGE country, so even just getting from place to place can be expensive. To save money on your trip to Australia, plan to travel to just one or two regions.
I hope this article helps you create your travel budget for Australia.
Now that is out of the way, it is time to get to the truly fun stuff, planning your Australian itinerary.
Australia Bucket List
One thing that you can be sure of, is that you won’t run out of things to do when travelling around Australia.
To help you plan your itinerary, check out this Australia bucket list.
One of my tips for planning your itinerary around your budget is planning to travel to one region of Australia. Even within one region, there are so many things to do. Planning to do less will allow you to spend better quality time in the destinations you do visit and spend less money.
Planning a trip to Australia
For everything you need to know about visiting Australia, including visas, flights, accommodation, travel insurance, and more, read this article.